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Saddle Rack in trouble

The Bay Area’s biggest and best country western bar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week

The Saddle Rack isn’t closing its doors just yet, but it’s going to a Wednesday through Saturday schedule.

Apparently, its been a bad year for the bar. Not only are revenues down, but it’s appealing a six-figure  judgement from a personal injury complaint against it and contesting about $100,000 in taxes the state says it owes.

To make matters worse, two months ago, burglars made off with the bar’s ATM machine.

In brighter news, I recently chickened out of riding the mechanical bull, which surely would have resulted in another personal injury lawsuit.  I still marvel that our photographer can walk after his dismount.

All the news stuff is from our business reporter George Avalos. He should have a full story in our business page/section tomorrow.

Matt Artz

  • Rick Muncie

    It’s sad that the Saddle Rack may be closing down because it serves a demographic, but I always thought that since it is in FREMONT it should do better in attracting all the asians in Fremont to come out.

    I went once and was the only Indian. For that matter, I was the only non-white non-hispanic (not too many hispanics either though) there. This was a Friday night and as soon as I walked in I felt VERY uncomfortable. Felt like I was in a club in the middle of nowhere Wyoming.

    Just because the Rack is focused on Country doesn’t mean it couldn’t even make a half-ass attempt to get some asians (and not just oriental but indians, afghans and any other asian too) up in their joint.

  • Marty

    That’s pretty cool that the Saddle Rack is able to create that a of transformative environment where you feel like you’re in Wyoming. They must try really hard not to serve yogurt with toppings.

  • MeMeMe

    I figured all the pro-stadium folks would be out there supporting the place. Maybe they need to hold an anti-stadium event to draw in the other 90% of the Fremont population.

  • Tom Meyer

    I guess Montrose,Y&T and the rock bands that play there didn’t realize they were in Wyoming either

  • volunteer

    to the first comment…..I am screaming at my computer. Are you saying that Fremont is not diverse enough for you? Maybe you can set up a play date and go see some bollywood movies at the movie theater on walnut ave and have a veggie burger at Burger King. (grin) Sorry u feel so alone. Ya, I would love to see you in cowboy boots line dancing…maybe you can save your money and go to the indian festival in fremont. YOu should “fit” in there!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/78634514@N00/1110601432/

  • volunteer

    Here Rick another link for you….
    http://indian.meetup.com/cities/us/ca/fremont/

  • volunteer

    Rick, I have notice that you use the term “Fremont demographics” a lot. Are you not happy here? Maybe, you need to relocate some where you can “be yourself”. Yes, I am awaiting the “grammar police”. CHEERS!

  • Jimmy Hillman

    The Saddle Rack is really fun. Its definitely worth keeping open considering the only other “have a night out” options in Fremont are the bar areas of chain restaurants like Elephant Bar and Claim Jumper. The Saddle Rack at least has some uniqueness. Seriously, if you want to go out and have a drink, hear live music and dance a little bit after 10:00 p.m. on a weekend in a City of 200K+ where else can you go? The Saddle Rack can appear overwhelming at first because it is so large and crowded (on Fridays and Saturdays) but the patrons are always really nice if you extend a handshake or a hello and take the initiative to get the ball rolling. The alternative is they tear down a locally owned business and build yet another chain store or chain restaurant and then the place really will look like Wyoming or Kansas or Indiana; that is another cookie cutter Walmartville City with the same chains as the cities and towns in those States and the rest of the Country.

  • bob

    How many Indians did you expect to see at a “Cowboy” bar?

  • Californiaguy

    Perhaps they were referring to the fact that the Saddle Rack was a white persons bar. Most of the patrons of the Saddle rack have blue eye’s.
    That is why they call cowboy music “Blue Eyed Soul Music”.
    Fremont is a very diverse community and I am proud of that!

  • Fremont Lifer

    Yes, you might as well say it like it is – The Saddle Rack is a redneck bar, and I say that as someone with rednecks in my family.

    While I regret seeing any local business go under, I have to admit that there is such a thing as karma at work in the world. Then there’s the free market, where you either adapt to the changing demographics of your marketplace or die. Fremont’s not worse than it was; it’s just different today than it was 20 years ago, or the 20 years before that. Darwininian capitalisim is hell on the businesses who can’t or won’t evolve. So, enjoy what we’ve got today – the only constant is change.

  • Marty

    That’s a pretty sad take you have on the world, Lifer — That a bar that caters to the rock and country genres of music is experiencing some kind of karma-induced fate because of some (satisfying to you) reversal of racial roles. It’s a bar on the fritz, and I think that’s all there is to say about it. To interject a racial aspect affirms your own delusions and self hate (I’m assuming you’re an old crusty caucasian hippy throwback).

    One caveat: Before coming to Fremont the Saddle Rack was an extremely popular club in San Jose that catered to country fans and non-fans alike. The few times I have been to the SJ location I would see whites and many Latinos, and I assume many others as I wasn’t really paying attention. And there were many, many very good looking women, all having a good time.

    The SJ location was slated for a condo development, and thus the move, unfortunately for them to Fremont.

    Who knows what is contributing to the closure. Perhaps it’s the prejudice of a blue-eyed redneck bar ‘scaring’ people away. Perhaps it’s the prejudice of a cheep Chinese population who won’t let go of dollar unless it bolsters their status. Perhaps it’s the prejudice of an self-segregated Afghan community who is for the most part unwilling to intermix and assimilate. Perhaps it’s the prejudice of Indians who have a plethora of dance infused social gatherings at their disposal, so there was never a need to visit the Saddle Rack.

    But you want to know what I think? Fremont is essentially a sh*t town with nothing to do except for driving your car to strip malls to eat yogurt with toppings. And the Saddle Rack’s customers were coming from San Jose, where they have more clubs and bars and restaurants and pro sports teams and generally magnitudes of more stuff to do, so what’s the point in driving up 880 to slum it in Fremont?

  • Jen

    So “the Rack” as it is affectionately known should be changing their theme and/or music in order to attract more Indians and Asians?

    I’ve been in quite a few “ethnic” markets and restaurants in the Tri-City area. And have been the only white person. Do they need to make a “half-a** attempt” to attract more white folks?

    Yeah, no, I didn’t think so…

  • Tony

    HAHAHAHA.. this is funny.. I grew up in the tri-city area and when someone would mention Indian it usually was a reference to a John Wayne movie.

    You don’t force something to adapt to you, you adapt to it.

    Fremont didn’t go to you, you came to Fremont.

    Now, can we all just get along.. hahahahaha

    PS… Dont EVEN ask to change mission san jose to
    something else.. just thought i throw that out there..

  • Duke

    I’m Asian-American, 3rd generation bay area, raised in the Tri-City area since ’76, and I love the Saddlerack. I was sad when it closed down in San Jose but was pleasantly surprised when they decided to re-open it in Fremont. I think it has the only mechanical bull in the bay area and I ride it every time I go. I have never, ever, felt “uncomfortable” there but I guess I was raised in this area when people integrated and did not self-segregate themselves. I appreciate the culture of the rack and hope it can pull through. It is one of the few places in Fremont that attract people from as far as SF, Oakland, and SJ. I don’t like what Fremont has evolved into. The lumps in this melting pot are growing too big and they are not melting. I miss the old Fremont/Newark and the rack reminds me of it. Remember the South 40?

  • Wifey

    to:

    When I first moved to Fremont from Oakland, as soon as I walked outside I felt VERY uncomfortable. Felt like I was…in the middle of nowhere India.

    But my husband took me to some unique places like Niles, Mission Pizza and The Saddle Rack and I was reassured that this is indeed America.

    Sorry about your little personal problem, though.

  • Wifey

    Oh, and my husband, who loves the Saddle Rack, is Asian. (but just an oriental Asian so I guess that doesn’t count)

  • Duke

    So Rick,………. let me get this straight.

    You…..want…..a…..Country…..dance……club….to make some changes to attract more Indians, Afghans, and other Asians “up in their joint”.

    This is very interesting. If this were the premise for a movie, I would definitely have go see it.

  • Wifey

    Dear Moderator (et al.,)

    I would like to apologize for my earlier comments. Not because they refer to race, although that was not my initial intention, but because they are ‘ingenuine.’

    I read this article late at night with my husband and we fumed together at the first comment for a long time before we were moved to respond. I wrote a comment and he read it, saying that it would be ‘funnier’ if I changed it, so I did. My original comment was as follows:
    “to [Rick]:

    When I first moved to Fremont from Oakland, as soon as I walked outside “I felt VERY uncomfortable. Felt like I was…in the middle of nowhere Wyoming.”
    But my husband took me to some unique places like Niles, Mission Pizza and The Saddle Rack and we had a good time.”

    The truth is, when I first moved to Fremont from Oakland, I did NOT feel like I was in the middle of nowhere, India. I did, however, feel like I was in the middle of nowhere generic USA noting a striking lack of anything that seemed unique. (meaning places, not people) So that is why the word ‘unique’ is significant in my comment, and not the fact that my husband is Asian. (which he is, but that is really not the point)

    The point is that I felt alienated being in the suburbs as opposed to a city but I got over it. Rick is making it a race issue which is a whole different problem, one that I admit I can’t really identify with in the same way. And it certainly is NOT a little problem.

    Thanks

  • Rindu Muncie

    What’s funny is people’s overreaction to my post. Trying reading it and thinking about the point I’m making before spouting off.

    I’m just saying that for whatever reason, they are in Fremont. You want to survive in Fremont you can’t just cater your business to people who come from miles away. I have heard that some people come as far as 50 miles away to enjoy the Rack on weekends. That’s fine and all, but obviously things haven’t been going well. Probably wouldn’t have hurt if they tried to cater to large portions of Fremont’s diverse demographics.

    “So “the Rack” as it is affectionately known should be changing their theme and/or music in order to attract more Indians and Asians?”

    No, just reach out. Most asians (remember Indians are asians so they are included in that term) in Fremont probably have never even HEARD of the Rack. They just go to Century 25 in Union City to hang out. If the Rack needed more business, probably wouldn’t have hurt to spread the word in Fremont, you know, the city where it is now located.

    “Do they need to make a “half-a** attempt” to attract more white folks?”

    If they aren’t out of business, then no. Plus white people are a minority in Fremont and California. Get used to it. The Rack should too, especially being in Fremont of all places. Besides, I bet you didn’t feel as uncomfortable as I did being the only Indian and only Asian on a Saturday night at the Rack.

  • Rindu Muncie

    “You don’t force something to adapt to you, you adapt to it. ”

    This applied to the Saddle Rack. The Saddle Rack needed to adapt to being in Fremont, but didn’t.

    “Fremont didn’t go to you, you came to Fremont.”

    Again, applies 100% to the Rack. The Rack came to Fremont. Remember that.

  • Jen

    “Besides, I bet you didn’t feel as uncomfortable as I did being the only Indian and only Asian on a Saturday night at the Rack.”

    Au contraire – try being a blonde white woman in short sleeves and a skirt walking into Maiwand Market on Fremont Blvd. to buy some of that fab Afghan bread, or hit up the Kabob House and wait for food with people looking at me like I had sprouted a second head spawned by the devil himself.

    Nope, I’m afraid it goes both ways Rick – or is it Rindu?

  • Marty

    God damn, this forum makes me hate Fremont.

  • Wifey

    since this is getting rediculous anyway…

    “What’s funny is people’s overreaction to my post. Trying reading it and thinking about the point I’m making before spouting off.”

    ~Rick, have you even read your own post?? Maybe you should try thinking before spouting off.~

    “[The Saddle Rack] are in Fremont. You want to survive in Fremont you can’t just cater your business to people who come from miles away. I have heard that some people come as far as 50 miles away to enjoy the Rack on weekends.”

    ~I just told you we live in Fremont; me and my Native-Fremont-Asian husband who regularly patronizes the Saddle Rack. ~

    That’s fine and all, but obviously things haven’t been going well. Probably wouldn’t have hurt if they tried to cater to large portions of Fremont’s “diverse demographics.”

    ~Asian and White. How diverse is that?~

    “ …white people are a minority in Fremont and California. Get used to it. “

    ~So you’re saying that it’s no big deal getting used to being a minority? Hmmmm…~

    “ I bet you didn’t feel as uncomfortable as I did being the only Indian and only Asian on a Saturday night at the Rack.”

    ~ While it’s not often I am the only person of my race in an establishment, a feeling is a feeling and I had a bad feeling just like you did. But I take responsibility for my feeling. (ps why even go there if you feel uncomfortable unless you are with other Indians?)~

    “You don’t force something to adapt to you, you adapt to it/Fremont didn’t go to you, you came to Fremont.”
    applies 100% to the Rack. The Rack came to Fremont. Remember that.”

    ~ And by Fremont you mean…“India-Town” ???~

  • bs

    dibs on the cage

  • Wifey

    Darn it, Muncie!

    now that comment was spouting off without thinking. but the thing is, everyone’s getting riled up and you are the common denominator. I’m sure a lot of the people who responded wanted to add one of those ‘if you don’t like this country then leave’ comments… but let’s try to get back to the point. You think it is in the saddle rack’s interest to cater to Indians because Fremont has a lot of Indians. OK, that makes some sense…but I am still wondering why you felt uncomfortable, why you chose to go to a country western bar expecting to see –what, ALL Asains, more Asian, what? Just what made you feel uncomfortable? And did you remain uncomfortable until you left? And how long did you stay?

    My point was that without places like The Saddle Rack here, it would be even less interesting.

    And, I am sorry about all the mean comments,but you are riling up …

    well I guess I shouldn’t blame you for my reaction.

    I hope the Saddle Rack stays in business and I hope we all meet there and laugh about all this someday.
    comfortably.

  • John C. Fremont himself

    I think “Duke’s” movie would be called “Harold and Kumar go to the Saddle Rack”, right?

  • highflyer

    hey wifey,

    i’m asian (not indian) frequently dance at saddle rack.
    But i hardly see any asians. I love saddle rack. How come i dont see u guys? I pretty much recognize all the regulars. Hope saddle rack stays open =]

  • Wifey

    hey highflyer–

    if only the saddle rack would givea half a**sed attempt to cater to kids, we would definitely see you!!

  • Marty

    Ha ha, Wifey!

    I think we learned a lot from this thread. That in Fremont you are encouraged to share your culture, unless it makes others feel uncomfortable.

  • Joe

    Bankruptcy! NO S…t! Thats what happens when you build a bar that only caters to white cowboys/cowgirls. Even the dress code is clearly a subtle way to keep out the African American population considersing most African Americans wear baggy pants, white t-shirts, sneakers, and sideways or backwards hats (all of these are a violation of the dress code). A bar like this belongs in Oklahoma, not in one of the most culturally diverse areas in the world.

  • Cece

    If you don’t like country music and country dancing, then go somewhere else. I don’t go to clubs that play rap music because I don’t like rap music, not because of the people that go there. Get over yourselves.